February 28, 2023
Take a closer look at the successful Sedgwick County community visit with recap, photos
Christopher Burrell, senior in mechanical engineering and a Connected 'Cats event leader for the Sedgwick County community visit, tells his K-State story during the community open forum at the Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita. Kaleo Vincent, senior in athletic training and rehabilitation sciences, was the other Connected 'Cats event leader for the Sedgwick County community visit.
Kansas State University engaged with hundreds of community members during the recent presidential community visit to Sedgwick County and the Wichita region.
President Richard Linton and several Connected 'Cats students led the K-State team of faculty, staff and extension professionals who visited Sedgwick County on Feb. 20 and 21. The visit included community conversations, recruitment activities and events to highlight university partnerships and K-State Research and Extension relationships.
View photos of the events throughout the Sedgwick County community visit. More photos will be added in the coming days.
The two-day Sedgwick County community visit started on Feb. 20 with a conversation on the ways that urban design shapes civic and public life by showcasing Downtown Wichita partnerships with the College of Architecture, Planning & Design. Katie Kingery-Page, associate dean and professor, and several K-State students participated in the discussion. The day ended with the Calling all 'Cats recruitment activity.
On Feb. 21, Linton and the K-State team began the day at the Kansas Leadership Center with a community open forum that highlighted university connections in the Sedgwick County and Wichita area. Other events throughout the day included a conversation to celebrate National Engineers Week and spotlight the ways that Textron Aviation and the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering partner together on innovation and workforce development. A group of about 30 K-State engineering students and faculty traveled down with Dean Matthew O’Keefe to participate in additional activities with Textron Aviation.
An afternoon session focused on the ways that K-State Research and Extension — Sedgwick County works with local partners to address food access challenges.
The two-day visit provided many opportunities for the two Sedgwick County Connected 'Cats student event leaders to share their K-State stories with their hometown community.
"Having the opportunity to return to my hometown with K-State was a dream come true!" said Kaleo Vincent, senior in athletic training and rehabilitation sciences, Valley Center. "Interacting with Sedgwick County community members and sharing my story with them was exhilarating. My favorite part of the day by far was returning to my high school to award my English teacher, Mrs. Leighton, with our Connected 'Cats Spirit of K-State award. It was great to see her and speak to some of her students about what I'm involved in at K-State!"
"The community visit to my hometown of Wichita was extremely eye opening and impactful," said Christopher Burrell, senior in mechanical engineering, Wichita. "The members of my community showed up in great numbers to help enlighten and inform K-State of everything that they wanted to see from us and everything that we are doing well. Personally, it was very reassuring to see the passion from the individuals within my community and the positive direction that it is heading in!"
Kaleo Vincent, senior in athletic training and rehabilitation sciences and a Connected 'Cats event leader for the Sedgwick County community visit, surprises Amanda Leighton, language arts teacher at Valley Center High School, with the Connected ‘Cats Spirit of K-State award.
University recognizes two Sedgwick County educators with Connected 'Cats Spirit of K-State award
K-State continued recognizing local teachers with the Connected 'Cats Spirit of K-State award. At every community visit, each Connected 'Cat chooses an educator from their hometown high school to recognize for their inspiration and positive influence in helping the Connected 'Cat get to where they are today.
The educators are recognized in a surprise ceremony at the high school and they are given a certificate for a $1,000 scholarship to give to a current high school student who plans to attend K-State.
In Sedgwick County, Vincent chose to recognize Amanda Leighton, language arts teacher at Valley Center High School.
"I am honored and humbled to have received the Connected 'Cats Spirit of K-State award — it was completely unexpected and seeing Kaleo after three years touched my heart," Leighton said. "To me, teaching is about serving students and challenging them to realize their potential long after they've left my classroom; that is where my heart and soul truly lie. I can think of no higher calling, and I am richly blessed. Thank you for reminding me of the value of working in education."
Burrell chose to recognize Yvette Powell, social studies teacher at Northeast Magnet High School.
"Christopher was great to have in class, and to get an award like this means a lot," Powell said. "As a teacher, you work to get things right and you’re always second-guessing yourself. When you get recognition like this, it lets you know you’re doing it right."
Christopher Burrell, senior in mechanical engineering and a Connected 'Cats event leader for the Sedgwick County community visit, recognized Yvette Powell, social studies teacher at Northeast Magnet High School, with the Connected ‘Cats Spirit of K-State award.
About the community visit initiative
K-State continues traveling the state as part of the presidential community visit initiative that focuses on the people of Kansas and their communities. The initiative consists of nine community visits throughout the state this academic year. See where K-State has been and where the university is going next.
A communications toolkit is available to help K-Staters share a consistent message about the university's relationships, partnerships and contributions throughout the state of Kansas. The toolkit offers a pathway for any university unit to plug in to the initiative and help share stories of engagement across the state.
Access the communications toolkit on the community visit website. Please be prepared to enter your K-State eID and password to access the information.
To celebrate National Engineers Week, the K-State team spotlighted current partnerships between Textron Aviation and the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering. An additional group of about 30 K-State engineering students and faculty traveled down with Dean Matthew O’Keefe to participate in additional activities with Textron Aviation.